Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Signs All Pointed to One Hotel


The decision to stay at this hotel was made years before my trip to London in 2023.  In 2016 when I stayed in London, I stayed at the Imperial Hotel just across the street. The nearest tube station was the Russell Square station located around the corner from this building.  Every time I took the tube I had to walk past the building pictured above which was surrounded by construction covers and scaffolding.  I could always hear the hammering, sawing and grinding going on inside.  I finally asked someone at my hotel what that building was.  They told me it was the Russell Hotel and it was in the process of full remodel.

After that, the Russell Hotel's name kept popping up in conversations or articles I was reading.

A few months later and back at home, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a while.  He said "how funny to run into you today, I had a dream last night that I was in London and was rushing to meet you at the Russell Hotel."  That was the moment I knew I was going to have to stay at that hotel.

I kept checking the internet for information on the hotel and not finding any news about when it would reopen.  Then the pandemic hit.  All travel came to a stop and I lost track of what was happening at the Russell Hotel.  When I finally returned to checking its progress, I learned it had new owners and a new name.  It became The Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel.  I have always enjoyed Kimpton hotels and now this place that had been occupying my mind for so long, was one of them.  It almost seemed predetermined that I should stay there.

Since then, I've learned a whole lot more about the history of this grand old building and its colorful architect.  I'll share some of those stories and other stories from London in the weeks to come.  

Sunday, April 30, 2023

The Streets are Paved in.....Water!


Scenes from Venice Italy where the streets are made of water and transportation is done by foot and boat.  

My first glimpses of the city were breathtaking.  It looked just like in the movies only with a lot more people.  The watery streets and the Moorish architecture caught my eye immediately.

To someone who lives in the desert, all that water seemed so strange and frankly, dangerous.  How do all those fabulous buildings stand with such soggy foundations?

Venice is truly one of the most unique cities on this planet.  The city was a joy to visit.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Overlooking Construction


That last time I was in New York, my hotel room had a pretty spectacular view to the north through a jungle of extremely tall buildings.

I realized quickly that I also had a Birds Eye view of a new building under construction.  

It was kind of fun to watch the progress of this new building for the seven days I had this view.

I used my telephoto lens to zoom in on certain areas to try to figure out what was happening.

I could even zoom in to see what was in a worker's tool belt.

By the end of my stay, it was looking like some progress had been made in those few days.

I will have to make another trip to New York to see how the building is looking today!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

There is Nothing Like an Ocean View


There is something about an ocean view that speaks to the soul.  That must be why I spend a few days in Southern California every year.  

Even if I did nothing else while I was there but walk along a coastal path, it would be enough to soothe that craving for the sounds and smells of the sea.

Even looking at these photos has a certain calming effect.  I can't wait to take another walk along these shores.  

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Beautiful Old Homes


I thought I'd take another tour around the town where I grew up, Quincy Illinois.  The last time I posted about Quincy's beautiful homes was in June of last year.  The first photo in that post was of my favorite house anywhere.  Today I'll show you a few more of the grand homes found in this river front town.

These first two houses have mastered that colonial America look.  I love the grand pillars on this house.  It looks so very stately.  

It's amazing how big these houses are.  Some of them have been divided into apartments but I'd say the vast majority are still single family homes.  BIG single family homes.

These two are not quite as large but they still have a very prosperous and stately look to them.  They don't build houses like these any longer and that is truly a shame.

Here are two more very large and very grand homes.  It would be so much fun to see inside these beautiful, old homes.

This last shot shows something I have found unique to Quincy.  The streets in the older neighborhoods have the street name spelled out in mosaic tiles in the sidewalk pavement at the corners.  When I was a little kid, I loved walking to the corner of our street and seeing the street name there.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Long Walk in Paris


On one of my trips to Paris, I took a long walk across town enjoying the sights along the way.  After visiting the gorgeous St. Chapelle church, I walked past the Palais De Justice.

 I crossed one of the many beautiful bridges in Paris while admiring those gorgeous buildings in the background.  I bet the apartments in those buildings are very expensive.

I walked past the Louvre Museum.  I didn't go in this time.  That's a museum that requires a whole day to itself.  

I crossed the busy Place De La Concorde.

I took a short rest in the gardens next the the Champs-Elysees and spent a few minutes watching a few magpies hopping around in the grass.

After my long stroll in the heart of Paris, I made my way back toward my hotel as I watched the sidewalk cafes fill with people.  There is always something see while walking in Paris.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Visit From My Parents


When I had that two year job assignment in Chicago, my parents came to visit me one weekend.  They enjoyed getting a taste of life in a high-rise building with views over the city and Lake Michigan.  

When my mother was a young girl, she spent some time visiting family living in Chicago and later, she and my dad got married at a church in Chicago.  Mom wanted to see if some of the places she remembered were still around.

The first place we found was the church where they were married. Sadly, it was boarded up and looking pretty bad.  However, they still recognized it and they posed for this photo in front of the church just like they had posed on their wedding day.

The other place my mother wanted to see was Maxwell Street.  When she was a kid and stayed with her aunt and uncle, her uncle would take her with him to shop on Maxwell Street.  She described it as crazy busy with every merchant along the street selling things in front of their stores.  I found these images by searching Google.  However, when we visited Maxwell Street it was looking very shabby.  In fact, it was a pretty rough neighborhood.  I understand that is has been greatly improved since we were there in 1999.

This last photo is of my mom enjoying the view from the top of the Hancock Building.  The view was of a much bigger and much more modern city than she remembered as a child.

I really enjoyed showing my mom and dad around the city I had grown to love while I was there.  I also enjoyed looking at these old photos and remembering the occasion.  

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Antarctic Inhabitants


The sole inhabitants of the Antarctic are the thousands of penguins who have made the land masses and the ice their home.

My good friends Julie and Dave took lots of photos of all the different species of penguins they encountered.  

I think the "chinstrap" penguins were my favorite but they are all so interesting to watch.  They have to be one of the cutest creatures on earth.

They are amazing little birds who seem to thrive in one of the coldest spots on earth.

This photo is of Julie at the Penguin Post Office mailing post cards back home.  In fact, the one she is showing looks like the one she sent me.

It took a whopping 9 weeks to arrive at my home.  It takes a very long time to get mail from the bottom of the earth!

Sunday, March 5, 2023

My Friends Went to Antarctica


My good friends Julie and Dave went to Antarctica in January and since I won't be going there, I asked if I could share some of the iPhone photos they sent to me.  I got the above photo the day they left Argentina on the Antarctic Airways jet. The rest of the photos here I got after their two weeks on the boat.  There was no internet or cell phone service available while they were exploring that uninhabited and ice covered land mass.

All of these photos are iPhone photos and they show the stark beauty of this wilderness area.  Dave told me this one shows Julie way down there by the shore.  She looks very tiny down there as does the boat they traveled on out there in the water.

He also said that the sun didn't get much lower than this the entire time they were there.  

Here's a photo of Julie all bundled up and enjoying one of the excursions.

 Likewise, here's Dave all bundled up against freezing temperatures and the wind.  

All that ice creates beautiful sculptures all around.

The photos I love the most are the ones with penguins in them.  They are such adorable and unusual creatures.  They got to meet several different kinds of penguins on this trip.  

Next week, I'll show you more of the penguin wildlife.